|Sunday, February 27 proved add. All that knee deep mud had mostly dried up. The bitter cold abated, sunshine covered all. Well, good. While the temperature wasn’t hot given the five weeks of storms, snow, sleet, ice it seemed warm.|
Hounds left from the Run-In Shed. Not much was going on. A boo hoo here and there but tepid. As luck would have it, all the older girls were in season so the pack consisted of two made females, three older boys and the rest were male youngsters. The girls never go in season at a convenient time.
After an hour plus of this I decided to try Jim Klemic’s. Might be a little cooler. Once we reached the turkey foot convergence of trails, the one being deep, hounds began to speak, moving north. They hitched it up from a trot to a lope so I did too. At one point Kalie and I stopped as the hounds swept up toward 611 then turned coming back down. They then dipped into the higher land up behind Jim’s house, more or less halfway to 611. By now the pack was back together, all speaking. So I dropped onto the north side of the creek and followed. I turned back but saw no field behind me. Dr. George Lindbeck was out so I looked for his scarlet coat. George can go through or over anything. It occurred to me while battling limbs that perhaps someone popped off. There isn’t much time to ponder these things while hounds are speaking. Took me maybe fifteen or twenty minutes to get through but I wasn’t too far behind. Lost my left earring, cut my ear and cut behind my right wrist. How no idea how. Leapt down onto the sunken trail so I could finally move faster. Hounds had blasted past Jim’s house, into those woods. Do I gallop down the pasture to the uncleared old north river branch trail or do I veer to the right and gallop toward the northern most bridge? There used to be a place there were you could drop down. Hounds began to emerge from the woods so I didn’t have to make a decision. All came out. One had a bloodied ear, those hateful thorns and Puzzle had a cut on his right shoulder. Obviously, they did not give up until the fox was put to ground. Once years ago, we ran a similar pattern and the fox swam across the branch which is pretty easy, the whole pack in pursuit. My whipper-in, Dr. Mary O’Brien, got over there on that 17 hand horse of hers, flew up to the hay storage shed and finally got the pack back. Fortunately, that didn’t happen this time. The former run, of course, meant phone calls and apologies to the landowner who was quite good about it.
But there we were. The pack, myself and not a soul. Headed to the pond to give them a rest and chance to drink and spied Sara Bateman and Amy Walker sitting in the field just off the farm road. Neither one knew where the field was. Just as they stopped speaking, we all heard hoofbeats and here came the entire field, including the four juniors Lynne Beegle Gebhardt brought along with Jim Meister. Later one of the riders who wears those watches telling you how far you have gone testified to seven miles. Well, that had to be seven miles at warp speed. And there was George. So all was well.
You never know, but we all now know with Jane in charge the field will catch up whatever it takes. The path they took was less difficult but still, that was a run. All were lucky most of the mud had dried up. Lots of dry cleaner bills otherwise. Nothing like the horse in front of you throwing up great clods of mud.
Lifted hounds and rode back to the hound trailer. Cut ear and cut shoulder cleaned and fixed. Ears look so bad because they bleed so much. The young boys did okay. Would I have preferred some of the older girls in there? I would. The boys can be easily distracted but once they got good scent they poured it on, steady and true.
Here’s to whatever comes next. Given the heat rising maybe we’ll pick up a vixen in a bikini. Then again we have all been smacked with snowstorms in March and April. Anything goes.
Up and over! RMB